About six years ago, I lived in a rural area on three acres, where I kept two horses, five cats and two dogs. One day a friend brought me a newborn doe she'd found struggling on the side of the highway. The fawn was about a foot high and could barely stand up. I named her

"Precious," because she was.

My Rottweiler, Preacher, took an instant shine to the tiny doe and began cleaning her after meals. Once, a friend came over with her dog in the back seat and the window rolled down. The dog leapt after Precious, and Preacher just stood him down. Precious followed Preacher everywhere. They'd parade up and down the street together, such a strange sight. The local game warden had allowed me to care for her as long as she was always free to leave, so I'd just let her roam.

One day, when Precious was about 7 months old, she didn't come home -- so I went looking for her. I saw a neighbor's gate open, and there she was, floating in the pool. We buried her in the front yard, beneath a white cross.

Preacher mourned his baby for so long. It was terrible to see. He'd just lie on her grave all day with his head between his paws. A short time later, a neighbor dropped off a newborn buck, found beside the road just like Precious. But Preacher never did take to him.

Sandra Moon, Lakeport, Calif.

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